“Not that I can think of. I’m looking at a loose screw right now, though.”
“Har har har, Slovich. Bite me.” Ral positioned the nail carefully, then gave it a few taps to seat it. Just as he was about to drive the hammer home, the phone behind the counter rang.
“I would have laughed if you hit your thumb.”
“You are my very, very best friend, you know that? Answer your damn phone.”
“Bestest of friends forever and ever,” she smiled as she picked up the phone, only to shriek mid-greeting as he hurled a crumpled paper from his pocket at her. “Balefires, June speaking—aah. Dick! … Not you, of course. How may I help you? … Oh, thank Goddess, hi Sam. I was super crazy hoping it’d be someone I knew. Ral’s throwing things at me, I think I need to report a case of disorderly conduct. … Oh. … Yeah, I guess I could. … I mean, only if you throw in an hour of community service too. … Cool, it’s a deal.” She covered the mouthpiece and leaned over the counter. “It’s Sam. He says he won’t lock you up for bullying me if you swing by his place when you get out tonight.”
“And my community service?” Ral grinned.
“Taste test Barb’s new lasagna recipe.”
“That’s gonna be tough.” With a few sharp swings of the hammer, he took care of the cabinet, then set the tool aside and stood up to take the phone. “Oi, Sam. Haven’t even heard my story and you’re already pickin’ out my sentence! What’s the matter with you?” As he listened, the smile faded from his face, and he gripped the edge of the counter. “… Oh. Yeah, absolutely. Don’t know how much help I’ll be, but … I’ll try.” With a wince, he nodded, despite the fact that the Lieutenant couldn’t see him on the other end of the line. “Sure thing. Be there tomorrow.” He held the receiver back out toward June.
“What’s going on?” She asked, as she hung up.
“Can’t say,” he insisted, letting go of the counter, careful not to let the fresh scratches in the worn oak show. “But I might need to leave early tomorrow. Nothing’s wrong with Sam, but … somebody around here might really not be right in the head.”